It wasn’t all that many years ago that I spent my working days on the roads of my homeland, Myanmar. It was my job to visit the tower construction sites for Telenor Myanmar, to ensure that the workers were complying with Telenor’s strict health and safety requirements. This was back in 2015, and health and safety were still unfamiliar concepts for many of the suppliers. My goal was to make Telenor’s safety culture a part of Myanmar’s culture.
Today I work as the Head of Supply Chain Sustainability and Community Outreach for Telenor Myanmar. Part of my role is to reach out to the different ethnic states across Myanmar, speaking to the local authorities there about the importance of health and safety. These days, I find that relating our expectations around health and safety is much easier. There is more general awareness, especially as development here in Myanmar continues to expand.
Over the last few years, Telenor’s expectations towards suppliers have also become quite well known. Injuries in our type of business most often arise when workers aren’t following the rules and regulations meant to protect them, for example when the appropriate gear isn’t worn, such as a harness or helmet. Back in 2015, spot inspections on sites would uncover hundreds of major non-conformities that needed to be addressed. Fast forward to today, and this year we’ve only uncovered four so far. That’s a dramatic improvement, but there’s still much more to be done.
eLearning and easy access
One of the ways we’re educating people in our supply chain is through a learning module that we’ve developed. We’ve taken our education videos and created an online version, so that people can easily access it from their mobile phones. This way we can reach an even wider audience than before. The information has also been simplified and updated, and it provides a general introduction to health and safety for any type of worker. Once a worker completes the eLearning module, we provide him or her with specified training that relates to their area of work.
The eLearning will be a great tool for us to create awareness, and in addition, we need to continue educating people and helping them understand why this is so important. There are so many channels and methods available to us today, and great partners to support us in this mission. It’s my hope that all companies in Myanmar share this focus on health and safety.
I’m really proud of what we have accomplished in Telenor. I’m also proud of my country for so rapidly embracing a new safety-focused culture. We’ve experienced such immense growth over the years, and health and safety could so easily have been overlooked. But it’s not; it’s very much on top of the agenda and in focus for many companies. I’ll do my best to make sure that Telenor Myanmar continues to be a role model on this now, and in the future.